For many Australians the promise of a faster and more reliable internet service, would be a dream, easing a lot of work and home life frustration, and that’s just what the Government did back in 2007. The government promised Australia access to a faster, and more reliable fibre connected internet to service the most populated areas of Australia. The NBN has been a key issue in the past two elections however what most consumers are not aware of is that the National Broadband Network (known as NBN for short) is being constructed and planned by a “new company” according the corresponding government parties. This company designed purposefully to deal with the oncoming design, build and operate Australia’s new high-speed fibre network. NBN.co which was established in 2009 when the government first proposed the national broadband network should be run as a private-public firm to build the network. The government would sell its majority stake after five years (2014) when the network was fully operational.

So, what has EIGHT years of planning and preparation gotten us?

To put it simply; unofficially an unknown amount in debt (suspected just over 50 billion AUD), much of the nation pissed off, corresponding telco’s kept in the dark, NBN.co has changed the approach to said plan ATLEAST 3 times so far, and to cap it off it’s now 2017 and the NBN roll out is still not complete. The Australian government couldn’t organise a wet fart, no matter which party is currently in control – that’s not new news to MOST Australians. But how did this great plan go so wrong? And what is the nation facing when it is finally (god forbid) finished.

For starters the if the original concept and idea came from 2009 the plan was doomed to begin with, technology has come a long way since 2009 to put that into perspective

• the top selling phone of 2009 was the NOKIA 5230 (the iPhone was still only relatively new, and the model released that year was a 3GS)

• the billboard number 1 song in Australia was poker face from lady gaga.

• 2009 was the last year that Holden Racing Team won the Bathurst 1000

• Australia was protecting its boarders from the swine flu

• There has been FIVE prime ministers since 2009

Compared to technology available today in late 2017, we have developers discussing AI Technology, Telcos and entire companies introducing Australia to the smart home. The tech market has gone through MANY changes including

• the arrival and somewhat death of new gen 3D technology

• the start of VR gaming and headsets

• the revival of the mobile tablet with the creation of the iPad

• the birth and death of the windows smart phone

• Wearable smart tec

3 MILLION people more in the country and some of Australia is FINALLY being connected to the 2009 planned national broadband network, with the first quarter of connections being completed by mid-2016, it’s needless to say that technology has come a very long way in those few years since planning. As mentioned above since the first planning of the NBN we have had 5 major changes in government leadership, and that is partly the reason why the NBN was doomed, with the failure of political leadership, there was no chance the NBN would ever work out with all the political movements in the nations governing parties. None of the country’s leaders ever did the work of investigating and explaining what an NBN truly was. Contrary to popular uneducated opinions, the NBN and NBN.co is NOT an Internet Service Provider (I.S.P) – it is an infrastructure, like that of the city sewers, or roads. The national broadband network is (OMG SHOCK ITS IN THE NAME) a NETWORK!!!!

If you want to know more about the train wreck called NBN click here to keep reading…

Stacey Friswell
Article Author

Amazon Key Smart Lock Kit

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The latest Amazon hardware & service is being marketed as an advanced alternative to the key under the mat — you can choose who has access to your home, and you’ll get a notification whenever someone comes or goes. It’s also a way for Amazon to entice you to prioritise its services.
You must be an Amazon Prime member to get your Amazon packages securely delivered just inside your front door, plus, grant access to the people you trust, like your family, friends, dog walker, or house cleaner – no more leaving a key under the mat. To activate Amazon Key, you must own an Amazon Key-compatible smart lock (only from lock manufacturers, Kwikset and Yale), & an Amazon Cloud Cam (Key Edition) indoor security camera (which features 1080p Full HD, night vision, and two-way audio) or purchase the Amazon Key kit with both these recommended devices.
Use the Amazon Key App to watch deliveries, (which so far appears that it is not compatible with Alexa); check in anytime via live view, and lock and unlock your front door from anywhere. It is not recommended for houses that pets have access to the front door & Amazon Key is not integrated with home security systems. On the day of delivery, you will need to disarm your home security alarm.
The hardware behind this service is about the only thing useful for Australians, as the Amazon Key service is not available outside of the USA, and even then, some areas of the USA won’t have access to it.
Amazon has also announced they plan to be releasing their own in-home services in the USA, including a maid service and dog walking service. On top of the installation and tech services they already run.
These new American Home services come with still no news on the release of Amazon services in Australia, or if they plan on releasing an Australian compatible Alexa, even after 2 years & 2 generations of hardware being on the market.

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The All New Amazon Cloud Cam

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Amazon now has their new hardware available for pre-order, and that includes the Amazon Cloud Cam, similar to the NEST Cam indoor, but at a significantly lower price.
The Amazon Cloud Cam will not be shipped directly to Australia but will work alongside both the Amazon Key Service and Amazon Alexa. The Cloud Cam supports 1080p Full HD, it features night vision and two-way audio. Amazon mention one of the best features is that you can watch the last 24 hours of clips for FREE, which means they offer the non-free options to up to a month for a paid cloud service, so you can look back on recorded motion. As the name suggests, it stores motion to the cloud and if you want to look back on anything more than 24 hrs, you will be required to pay to access it. The Cloud Cam is yet another product and Amazon story that will not be released in Australia yet, this may change when/if Amazon finally launches in Australia.
If you are interested in the Amazon Cloud Cam, you really have three options; find an alternative brand that is supported in Australia; ship through an America to Australia postal service like Australia Post Shop Mate (paying a service fee and extra shipping with no Amazon support); or waiting to find out if Amazon will ever release any hardware in Australia.

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Harmon Kardon & Microsoft Cortana

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This week Harman Kardon and Microsoft released the Harman Kardon Invoke with Cortana  by Microsoft for the exy price of $199.95 USD. The only country it was released in was the United States and with the sound powered by Harman Kardon, and that price tag, it’s easy to see the market they hope to reach. For the moment, powerful sounding speakers are few and far between, with the best on the market (personally considered) being the Google Home Max.
So, considering price range and Sound target this is what we would consider comparing with before deciding to buy.
The highlighted features of the invoke are –
Voice-activated speaker with premium sound and Cortana’s intelligence;
Powerful 360° sound delivered from 3 woofers, 3 tweeters, and 2 passive radiators;
Play your favourite music with the sound of your voice;
Get answers to questions;
Manage your schedule;
Set and receive reminders;
Make and receive hands-free calls with Skype;
Voice-control your smart home devices.
This leaves us with yet another companywith exciting software yet to come to the Australian Market.

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Harmon Kardon & Samsung

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To say there are a few smart speakers on the market at the moment is a huge understatement. A.I. and smart home companies are all in a race to beat competitors to market for the next big ‘it’ hardware. Amazon Alexa was the first to bring voice assistant and home controls to the market (but over two years later is yet to release in Australia) and Google Home, which is coming next (first to reach the Australian market).  Apple and Samsung are the next big tech companies to release their voice assistants in a speaker. Apple publicly announced the Smart speaker, Homepod, powered by voice assistant Siri, which is due to hit Australia in time for Christmas.

However, details for the South Korean company Samsung have been scarce so far, with many failed attempts to kick-start Voice Assistant Bixby. Due to a few reasons, the biggest being the lack of English recognition and support for the assistant features, and the next is assumed to an already flooded market with a strong fan base for the four other major Smart Assistants.  So far Samsung’s mobile division chief, DJ Koh has kept tightly lipped about any future hardware products coming out the Company, in September saying “Maybe soon we will announce it. I am already working on it” in regards to a smart assist speaker. With no reliable announcement official as of yet, we are left watching as the Samsung team try to iron out any faults with the mobile assistant Bixby. We are left to assume that Koh may have been hinting towards Child Company Harman, which was recently acquired by Samsung back in March of this year, as part of the company’s biggest acquisition ever, which included and not limited to Harman Kardon, Infinity, JBL, Lexicon, and Mark Levinson.

It was shortly after this that Harman made the rather odd announcement of their smart assistant home speaker design and release date, none other than Microsoft Cortana would power that. As far as Harman Kardon is concerned this is an excellent move as Cortana has much more successful speech recognition and has already started to implement home automation controls on the PC and Xbox. For now, parent company Samsung, this might be a sign of defeat, or it may be a brilliant new partnership. Either is unclear right now.  What we do know now, is that the Harman Kardon came out this week, and it appears to be a powerful speaker. The public will decide what they think of Cortana as a Home Automation Assistant.

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New Owners for August Home

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In a HUGE game changer for once start-up company August Home, the company has recently been acquired by a new parent company Assa Abloy. The same parent company to Australia’s Lockwood and many other Lock and Technology Companies. The good news to any August Home fans and users is that this acquisition will not see a change of leadership for the company with Jason Johnson to stay in the role of CEO of August Homes, allowing funding and research to future technology to lean on Assa Abloy, and now sister company once rival company Yale, whom also develop smart locks.

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RUMOURED; Google Home to Copy Amazon

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Multiple rumours are pointing to the potential of Google to create a smart ‘Voice Enabled’ assistant with a screen. Following the release of Amazon’s Alexa Show (pictured right), Alphabet blocked Google’s sister company, YouTube, from being displayed on the Amazon devices. Initial reports came out saying the new hardware had the codename Manhattan, which has been upgraded to Quartz, it is unsure yet if this will be the devices name. These rumours follow Google’s huge release earlier this month on EIGHT new hardware devices. So it appears the hardware team at Google is keeping busy.
So far the device will apparently have a similar size display of around 7 inches to the Amazon device, Quartz will also have functions on top of the pre-existing Google Home, such as calls, display Google Photos and also control smart home devices, as well as the use of YouTube. Further reports claim they may be working on a larger screened device.
With news about Google’s Choice to copy Amazon hardware, and the MANY times Amazon has copied features from Google Software, we hope its only a matter of time until Amazon FINALLY bring Alexa to Australian Market

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Voice Controls For Google & Youtube

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Youtube and Google Home are both under the Alphabet Company umbrella, so it baffled many why users of Google Home and Google Assistant could not control their Youtube stream to their media devices via Chromecast.
Users are no longer frustrated by this seemingly simple problem. The latest Google Home update has enabled Youtube to become one of the few video services, supported by the Google Home controls, alongside the likes of Netflix and Google Photos.
To access this latest feature you can set up the default Chromecast device in the Google Home settings.

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Amazon furthering hardware line

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Intel and Amazon have recently announced their partnership and are releasing an interesting piece of technology they call the Intel Speech Enabling Developer Kit. This is already available to order for any DIY buffs and developers out there. The kit includes a high-performance algorithm for acoustic echo cancellation, noise reduction, beamforming and custom wake word engine tuned to hear “Alexa”. This device will make it easier for third-party developers to accelerate the design of consumer products featuring the Amazon Alexa Voice Service.
With Amazon looking to partner with companies like Intel to help improve third party devices for voice enabled controls, rumours are flowing from multiple sources are pointing towards Amazon looking at third party device manufacturers to help release further smart home hardware. Which would be a very big and very smart move for Amazon. By releasing supported smart doorbells, car locks, and cameras, would be a great investment into the ‘smart home’ and Alexa software; but would also go hand in hand with other Amazon products. Furthering home security and monitoring will help Amazon ensure package delivery safely, while still offering more options to Alexa Consumers.
You can Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to stay posted on this developing story.

You can Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to stay posted on this developing story.

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Google Home Mini, spying rumors

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By now, you have probably heard all the talk and news going around about Google Home Mini, listening to users conversations and recording it. But we want to set the record straight.
SOME of the new Google Home Mini devices have a fault with the SPECIALLY designed fabric that Google themselves made new thread for it to be touch sensitive. This was Google’s big mistake. The touchable fabric controls are a little TOO SENSITIVE and can activate the Mini’s controls WITHOUT a person controlling or commanding it to do so. Therefore the Mini would always be listening. Lucky for consumers, this was discovered by an unfortunate user who found his entire conversation in print through Chromecast on his TV.
Once Google was aware of the situation they ran a software update PERMANENTLY disabling the touch controls feature on all Google Home Mini’s. It threw a large spanner in the works for the Mini. But be rest assured, the Google Home Mini is still very much functional and is definitely NOT SPYING ON YOU.

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